See kids or animals in a hot car? Here’s how to react

What should you do if you see kids or animals in cars on hot days?

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Wednesday was the hottest day of the season so far, and Thursday is going to be another hot one.

Elevated temperatures could spell elevated danger.

“Let’s keep tabs on our neighbors who are elderly and home-bound people on days like today; make sure they have air conditioning and fluid," Capt. Joe Harvey of Chesterfield Fire and EMS said.

Some basics to remember are to stay hydrated and try to limit your time outdoors. He also recommends wearing loose clothing, and try to make time to take breaks.

Harvey said first responders see an uptick of heat-related calls from heat exhaustion to heat stroke from people working outdoors or other more dangerous situations.

“Pets in cars, children are often left in cars on days like today," Harvey said. "Those temperatures can rise to extremely dangerous temperatures that could even be fatal for one of those.”

On Tuesday morning, Petersburg police say a man was arrested and charged with multiple counts of felony child endangerment for leaving three infants in a minivan.

If you see kids or animals inside a car on a hot day, before you decide to smash a window, there is one very important thing you need to do first.

“Call 911," NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin said. “The law says a person has immunity in any civil lawsuit if it is necessary to forcibly break into somebody’s car in order to rescue an unattended child who’s at risk for serious injury or death. Provided that wherever it’s feasible you first try and contact 911 or law enforcement or a firefighter.”

However, that immunity does not extend to animal trapped in a hot car, unless you happen to be a member of law enforcement, firefighter or animal control.

Benjamin said by calling for help, you are summoning a trained person who will do the rescuing. Otherwise, you’re just someone who broke another person’s windows.

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